The Cherry Blossom Craze

This year being the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry blossom trees to both Washington, DC, and New York City has sparked even more interest than usual in this cultural symbol of Japan. Cherry blossoms are everywhere, and not just the physical flower. Thanks to a warm winter, many different species of  cherry trees in our area bloomed a month early, but the fascination with the flower continues to manifest itself in New York.

The Kanzan cherry trees cooperated over the weekend during the Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Park at 122nd Street and Riverside Drive. The pink and white blossoms were brilliant on a day where the Harlem and Japanese communities in New York City celebrated the 100th anniversary of cherry blossoms in New York.

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Cherry blossoms in Sakura Park

 

Cherry blossoms took many forms at Japan Society, where the non-profit put on tremendous, day-long homage to the iconic flower. Sakura took the form of live flowers, paper cut-outs, origami, block prints, and calligraphy.

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Live cherry blossoms at Japan Society

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Cherry blossom display at Japan Society's j-CATION 2012: Sakura

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An origami bouquet of cherry blossoms at Japan Society

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Cherry blossom pattern on blocks for printing at Japan Society

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Kanji character for "sakura" at Japan Society

 

The cherry blossom is a popular theme at the US Postal Service as well. In late March the USPS issued the Cherry Blossom Centennial forever stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the trees in DC.

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Cherry Blossom Centennial stamp from the US Postal Service

 

Even Angry Birds love cherry blossoms. Finnish company Rovio released a version of the ultra-popular mobile game with cherry blossoms, Mount Fuji, ohanami (cherry blossom viewing), onigiri, and dango.

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Angry Birds Seasons by Rovio

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Angry Birds Seasons by Rovio

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Angry Birds Seasons by Rovio